Friday, May 28, 2010

The Righteous for the Unrighteous


“The righteous for the unrighteous” (1 Peter 3:18)

This phrase is packed with so much truth and grace that I hope we see the huge significance to these five words. These words are key to understanding our standing before holy God. This is exciting news for sinners who have put their trust in the work of Jesus Christ. His suffering was on our behalf. May we rejoice in the forgiveness found in Christ’s atoning death, “the righteous for the unrighteous.”

The unrighteous describes sinful humanity. All of us are without excuse because we have all failed to be obedient to our Creator’s commands. We have all clearly forsaken our Creator’s perfect plan for life in order to do our own thing. We do not want to submit to his authority because we want to be our own authority. We think our own ideas, thoughts and way of life are best. We ultimately want to be God. We have told God he is not good enough for us so we are going to run our own lives. This is our unrighteousness. This is what has separated us from the perfect, righteous God of the universe. This is not a minor problem but THE problem.

The righteous describes God. In this passage it is more specifically speaking of God the Son, Jesus Christ. “For Christ also suffered [died] once for sins.” The perfect mediator, Jesus Christ, came into this world to be our representative and die for our sins upon the cross. Only Jesus Christ could accomplish this task. We see here “the righteous for the unrighteous” or another translation reads, “the just for the unjust.” This was a work of substitution Christ did on the cross. The righteous One, Jesus Christ, died on behalf of unrighteous humans so that “he might bring us to God.” Remember as sinners we are separated from God. In God’s perfect righteousness and holiness he cannot look upon sin because that would go against his very nature. But in Christ sinners are clothed in his perfect righteousness. “For our sake, he made him, who knew no sin, to be sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).

Christ’s substitutionary death upon the cross is how sinners are brought into the presence of God. Jesus Christ is the only possible substitute. All other “rivals” are no rival at all because only through Christ can sinners have their sins paid for and be given access to the kingdom of heaven. Christ proclaimed, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Are you putting your trust in Christ? In God’s word it is clear that Christ is the only way to the Father. Christ did not only die on our behalf but three days later he rose from the grave and defeated sin and death for good. Jesus’ resurrection also backs his claim of being God. Those who repent and believe are not trusting in a dead man but rather a risen Savior who alone has the power to give life to our dead hearts. His work in the life of sinners is one of power, supernatural power. It is said in God’s word that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. God’s power alone is the power to substitute “the righteous for the unrighteous” that we might be brought to God.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Me?

John Newton said it perfectly:

"If ever I reach heaven I expect to find three wonders there:first, to meet some I had not thought to see there; second, tomiss some I had expected to see there; and third -- the greatestwonder of all -- to find myself there."

Grace upon grace,
JRL

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Memorizing the Word

Tim Challies recently asked the question on his blog: Why Memorize Scripture? In the article he quotes from a John Piper message six reasons to memorize Scripture. Memorizing Scripture has never been a specialty for me so this is a challenge to myself as well as you all to start memorizing Scripture.

Piper's reasons for memorizing Scripture:

1. Conformity to Christ - Bible memorization has the effect of making our gaze on Jesus steadier and clearer.

2. Daily Triumph over Sin - As sin lures the body into sinful action, we call to mind a Christ-revealing word of Scripture and slay the temptation with the superior worth and beauty of Christ over what sin offers.

3. Daily Triumph over Satan - When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness he recited Scripture from memory and put Satan to flight.

4. Comfort and Counsel for People You Love - When the heart full of God's love can draw on the mind full of God's word, timely blessings flow from the mouth.

5. Communicating the Gospel to Unbelievers - Actual verses of the Bible have their own penetrating power. And when they come from our heart, as well as from the Book, the witness is given that they are precious enough to learn.

6. Communion with God in the Enjoyment of His Person and Ways - The way we commune with (that is, fellowship with) God is by meditating on his attributes and expressing to him our thanks and admiration and love, and seeking his help to live a life that reflects the value of these attributes.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jesus I am Resting, Resting

Jesus I am resting, resting
In the Joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power
Thou hast made me whole.

O how great Thy loving kindness.
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O how marvellous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings;
Thine is love indeed!

Ever lift Thy face upon me,
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting 'neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth's dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father's glory,
Sunshine of my Father's face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting;
Fill me with Thy grace.

Jesus, I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart. (Jean Sophia Pigott)

Grace upon grace,
JRL

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Arbiter Christ Jesus

"Truly I know that it is so: But how can a man be in the right before God? If one wished to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand times. He is wise in heart and mighty in strength—who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded?—he who removes mountains, and they know it not, when he overturns them in his anger, who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble; who commands the sun, and it does not rise; who seals up the stars; who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea; who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south; who does great things beyond searching out, and marvelous things beyond number. Behold, he passes by me, and I see him not; he moves on, but I do not perceive him. Behold, he snatches away; who can turn him back? Who will say to him, ‘What are you doing?


For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him,that we should come to trial together. There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both. Let him take his rod away from me,and let not dread of him terrify me. Then I would speak without fear of him, for I am not so in myself." (Job 9:1-12, 32-35)

Praise God he sent his Son to be the "arbiter" between himself and sinners!

"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 2:5)

Grace upon grace,
JRL

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Wages of Sin is Death


“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23)

In this statement we have the gloomy sentence of every human life. Due to the fall in Genesis 3 every person is appointed to die. “All have sinned” (Romans 3:23) therefore all must die. Physical death is a result of the fall. Through Adam’s disobedience to God we are all condemned as sinners and “the wages of sin is death.”

Wages speaks of a payment for our sin. This is what we have earned as sinners. Wages indicates that we are deserving of death. If someone is employed by a company and works the required hours they earn a paycheck. Likewise we as God’s creatures have earned the just penalty of physical death for committing sin against him. As someone employed by a company I am not the one who tells them what to do but rather they set the standard and I uphold to their standard they have set. In the garden the standard was set yet Adam fell into sin by going against God’s command. This is not just Adam but all of us who have held up our fist to our Creator and told him we will not obey. All of us have gone our own way. Our payment for going our own way is death. “The wages of sin is death.”

A bigger aspect in the garden is the fact that through sin we have been separated from God. God, being holy, cannot look upon sin therefore he cannot look upon sinners like you and me. This is more tragic than physical death because without God’s grace all of us are born and destined for an eternity in hell. “The wages of sin is death” and the death results in both physical death and spiritual death which is the separation from God. But God in his great kindness sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to pay that penalty for sin on our behalf. The God-man, Jesus Christ, is the only One who could pay that penalty for us. How? Remember “the wages of sin is death” so Christ paid the penalty for sin by his death upon the cross. Not only are we reminded of our physical and spiritual death from the fall but we are also reminded of Christ’s death upon the cross for our sins. “The wages of sin is death.”

Christ, the sinless Son of God, was made sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). The tail end of this verse says, “But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” O how important it is to affirm the empty tomb. Through his death sin has been paid for but because of the empty tomb we can have eternal life with our risen Savior. The gospel tells us we have offended holy God but that God sent the payment for sin through his Son, Jesus Christ. He paid the price we could not pay through the cross and also gave us new life through his resurrection. Earlier in the chapter Paul says, “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). New and eternal life is found only in Christ where we are able to die to sin.

For those who will not put their faith in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior your future is nothing but death. It will be a death of utter separation from God and his grace. Your wages for your sin will be paid for on your own merit which is no merit at all. The result: Death. But for those who trust in Christ with a humble and broken heart then the payment for death has been made by Christ. The reward is a free gift from God which is eternal life with him. What a great God to send his Son to pay the price on our behalf. “The wages of sin is death” but whose death will pay the wage? Christ's or yours?

Grace upon grace,
JRL

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Full Atonement, Can it be?

Here is Monday's Grace Gem by Samual Davies that I found very helpful and encouraging. What a great God who loves us so much he sent his Son.

"Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other!" (Psalm 85:10)

"The salvation of sinners by the substitutionary death of Christ, gives the brightest display of the perfections of God; and particularly of those which belong to Him, as the Supreme Ruler of the moral world.

Justice and mercy, duly tempered, and exercised with wisdom--is a summary of those virtues which belong to a good ruler. Now these are most illustriously displayed in a happy union--in Christ crucified.

Justice shines brighter in the cross--than if every sin had been punished upon offenders, without any mercy!
Mercy shines brighter in the cross--than if every sin had been pardoned, and every sinner made happy, without any execution of justice.

Mercy appears in turning the divine heart with such a strong propensity upon the salvation of sinners!
Justice appears in that when the heart of God was so much set upon it--yet He would not save them without a complete satisfaction to His justice.

Mercy appears in providing such a Savior!
Justice appears in inflicting the punishment due to sin upon Him, without abatement; though He loved Him more than the whole universe of creatures!

Mercy appears in transferring the guilt from the sinner upon the Surety, and accepting a vicarious satisfaction!
Justice appears in exacting the satisfaction, and not passing by sin, when it was imputed to the darling Son of God.

Mercy appears in pardoning and saving guilty sinners!
Justice appears in punishing their sin!

Mercy appears in justifying them--though destitute of all personal merit and righteousness!Justice appears in justifying them--only and entirely on account of the merit and righteousness of Christ!

Mercy appears in providing a Savior of such infinite dignity!
Justice appears in refusing satisfaction from an inferior person!

Mercy appears in forgiving sin!
Justice appears in not forgiving so much as one sin--without a sufficient atonement!

Mercy, rich, free mercy--towards the sinner!
Justice, strict, inexorable justice--towards the Surety!

In short--mercy and justice, as it were, walk hand in hand through every step of this amazing scheme of salvation by the substitutionary atonement of Christ!

God pardons and saves the sinner--and yet condemns and punishes his sin! Though innumerable multitudes of rebels are pardoned--yet not one of them is pardoned until their rebellion is punished according to its demerit in the person of the Surety!

The precept of the divine law, which they had broken--was perfectly obeyed. The penalty which they had incurred--was fully endured and paid, indeed not by themselves--but by their divine substitute.

Hence the divine law is magnified, and made honorable, and the rights of government are preserved sacred and inviolable--and yet the sinful rebels are set free, and advanced to the highest honors and blessedness!

God brings the greatest good--out of the greatest evil!
God pardons and saves the sinner--and yet condemns and punishes his sin!
God gives the brightest display of His justice--in the freest exercise of His mercy!
God gives the richest discovery of His mercy--in the most rigorous execution of His justice!
God magnifies His law--in justifying those who had broken it!
God reveals the utmost hatred against sin--in showing the highest love to the sinner!

What an astonishing God-like scheme is this! What a stupendous display of the infinite wisdom of God!" (Samuel Davies)

Grace upon grace,
JRL

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

False Gospels!

Jonathan Leeman posts on a schema of seven counterfeit gospels, as cited in How People Change by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp.

Formalism. "I participate in the regular meetings and ministries of the church, so I feel like my life is under control. I'm always in church, but it really has little impact on my heart or on how I live. I may become judgmental and impatient with those who do not have the same commitment as I do."

Legalism. "I live by the rules-rules I create for myself and rules I create for others. I feel good if I can keep my own rules, and I become arrogant and full of contempt when others don't meet the standards I set for them. There is no joy in my life because there is no grace to be celebrated."

Mysticism. "I am engaged in the incessant pursuit of an emotional experience with God. I live for the moments when I feel close to him, and I often struggle with discouragement when I don't feel that way. I may change churches often, too, looking for one that will give me what I'm looking for."

Activism. "I recognize the missional nature of Christianity and am passionately involved in fixing this broken world. But at the end of the day, my life is more of a defense of what's right than a joyful pursuit of Christ."

Biblicism. "I know my Bible inside and out, but I do not let it master me. I have reduced the gospel to a mastery of biblical content and theology, so I am intolerant and critical of those with lesser knowledge."

Therapism. "I talk a lot about the hurting people in our congregation, and how Christ is the only answer for their hurt. Yet even without realizing it, I have made Christ more Therapist than Savior. I view hurt as a greater problem than sin-and I subtly shift my greatest need from my moral failure to my unmet needs."

"Social-ism." "The deep fellowship and friendships I find at church have become their own idol. The body of Christ has replaced Christ himself, and the gospel is reduced to a network of fulfilling Christian relationships."

"But we preach Christ crucifed...the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." (1 Corinthians 1:23, 24-25)

Grace upon grace,
JRL

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sovereign Ruler

His decree who formed the earth
Fixed my first and second birth;
Parents, native place, and time,
Planned within God’s loving mind
He that formed me in the womb,
He shall guide me to the tomb;
All my times shall ever be
Ordered by His wise decree.

Times of sickness, times of health;
Times of poverty and wealth;
Times of trial and times of grief;
Times of triumph and relief.
Times the tempter’s power to prove,
Times to taste the Savior’s love;
All must come, and last, and end,
As shall please my heavenly Friend.

Sovereign Ruler of the skies,
Ever gracious, ever wise,
All my times are in Your hand,
All events at Your command.
Sovereign Ruler of the skies,
You are gracious, You are wise,
All my times are in Your hands,
All events at Your command. (John Ryland)

Grace upon grace,
JRL

Monday, May 17, 2010

Choose your Friends Wisely

Maurice Roberts has written a chapter titled Christian Friendships in his book The Thought of God that challenges our natural instinct to choose friends according to our like-mindedness but says the ultimate reason for close friends on this journey is to help us war against sin.

"Healthy Christian character, which is full-orbed, well-rounded and rich in good fruits can best be formed within the circle of sanctified friendships. It is a common proverb that 'a man is known by his friends.' This is not surprising because, as the Romans put it, 'a friend is a second self.' That is to say, our intimate friends are what they are to us because they are essentially like us in all that is morally important. We choose our friends, not by accident, but because their souls mirror ours and their minds vibrate in harmony with ours. Friendship begins as soon as this mutual harmony of hearts is felt, and it ends when the harmony ends...

Our best friends are those whose company most makes us afraid of sin. These friends are rare and to be valued like solid gold...There are some Christians who impress us by their talents. But there are also others whose awesome holiness makes us afraid. If we find one friend of this kind, we shall do well to cherish his friendship for life."

How are you chosing your friendships? Remember Paul's warning to the Corinthians, "Bad company corrupts good morals" (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Grace upon grace,
JRL

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Word was God


“The Word was God” (John 1:1)

Who is Jesus? This is a question of most significance. Some say a good teacher. Others say a moral man. Many think he was a magician who performed miracles. Most would say the Son of God, but so many of these people deny that Jesus is God. This is truly a grave error. “The Word was God” is clearly speaking of the fact that Jesus Christ is God.

Jesus Christ has always existed. He is eternal or you could say from everlasting to everlasting. When we think of Jesus our minds tend to go right to his earthly life in his human form. But we must not forget that Jesus has always been in fellowship with his Father and the Holy Spirit. The beginning of John 1 says, “In the beginning” which is a reference backing to Genesis 1 which states, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Then John says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.” Clearly we can see that Jesus was “in the beginning” with God which means he existed before the world began. This wording is to help us wrap our minds around the eternality of Jesus. It is true that Jesus is the Son of God but we must see from Scripture that “The Word was God.”

You might be asking at this point: The Bible says “The Word was God’ but how do we know Jesus is “The Word”? John knows the question will be asked so in John 1:14 he answers: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John gives clarity to our clouded minds to see that “The Word” is in fact Jesus. The very Creator of the world has come down to take on humanity for one sole purpose: To glorify his Father through his perfect life and death. The text says, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:2). “The Word” is where true life is found. In Christ we can have life that is everlasting. If Jesus were merely a man who claimed to be the Son of God then we would have no hope of redemption. In order for salvation to take place in Jesus he must be the One he claimed to be. Jesus had to be fully God and truly human. He must be perfect in order to pay the price for sin and he must be fully human in order to be our sympathetic High Priest. This is why we cannot casually read over such a small phrase like “The Word was God.”

One last point I find very interesting. When people make the claims of Jesus being a good teacher or a moral man or a magician or the Son of God they are stating some belief in the Bible. They are not all out denying Jesus but they are making Jesus whatever they want him to be. Would it not make more sense for these people to deny that Christ ever existed? It wasn’t just John who declared Jesus to be God but Jesus himself said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). A good moral teaching miracle worker who claims to be God is either crazy or God. Jesus said, “I lay down my life that I might take it up again” (John 10:17). This would be crazy unless he did lay down his life and raise it up again. Many people do not deny the crucifixion of Christ but as soon as the resurrection is mentioned they change their tone. See the resurrection is the verification that Jesus is exactly who he claims to be. Most people don’t want the resurrected Jesus because the he has authority over life and death but our pride holds us back from submitting to him because we want the control. A resurrected Jesus is scary to those who want to be their own authority. But the truth is the truth so on God’s word I stand saying with John, “The Word was God.”

Grace upon grace,
JRL

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Christian, are you in a fight?

"So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." (Romans 8:12-13)

"How much we ought to hate sin! Instead of loving it, cleaving to it, dallying with it, excusing it, playing with it, we ought to hate it with a deadly hatred. Sin is the great murderer, and thief, and pestilence, and nuisance of this world. Let us make no peace with it. Let us wage a ceaseless warfare against it." (J.C. Ryle)

O the constant warfare that should be taking place in the life of the Christian. I confess many times I have thrown my armor down trying to fight temptation with my own strength and it never fails that I fail. God has purposefully given us his armor to wear in the battle against sin. This life is a life of constant warfare against our flesh and Satan. We must be on guard every second of the day lest we fall into the trap of the evil one. May we remember to call upon the Lord for help and strength to resist sin so that we can find true satisfaction in him. O and may we long for that day, "When freed from sinning, I shall see his lovely face. Clothed then in the blood washed linen, how I'll sing Thy sovereign grace." Keep your eyes on the prize found at the cross of Jesus Christ.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Father's Love

How has the sinner been forgiven
How has the rebel been made clean
Or blinded eyes been made to see
How have the orphans been adopted
Who hated Your love and ran from grace
Despised and rejected all Your ways

How wonderful the Father’s love
The Father’s love for us
That He would send His only Son
To come and rescue us
He has saved us, called us blameless
Guides us now and will sustain us
Oh how wonderful the Father’s love

Your mercy floods our lives with kindness
Your grace has colored all we see
And You have promised not to leave
You freely give Your Spirit to us
So we can be sure we’re sons of God
And rest in the hope of what’s to come

Though sufferings may fill our lives
We’re confident we’re heirs with Christ
And so we cry, “Abba, Father” (Joel Sczebel)

Grace upon grace,
JRL

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

1st Birthday

"Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen." (Jude 24-25)

Today is our daughters first birthday so needless to say we are so excited to have had her in our presence for a year now. God has been so good to us through this year. We have watched Emma grow so much and also go from no movement to walking. This is frightening as a parent. Not really but it does mean she is growing up. It is so exciting to come home from work and see her smile and laugh because daddy is home. It is great to have her and mommy home all day to work and play with one another. Heather's patience and love is beyond anything I can comprehend and I am so grateful to be blessed with her as a wife and Emma's mother. I know this is nothing but a great gift of God's faithfulness to us.

Our great prayer for Emma's life is that she would see the gospel lived out in the life of her parents and to also faithfully teach her the truth of the gospel. We love her dearly and know this is the greatest display of love. So today I just wanted to celebrate with all of you God's faithfulness to Heather and I.


I also wanted everyone to see that she clearly has her mother's ears.











Happy 1st Birthday Emma!!

Grace upon grace,
JRL (Your daddy)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Has anyone seen my 2 X 4?

"Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." (Matthew 7:3-5)

"Sin has had two remarkable effects on our critical powers. It has made us super-sensitive to the faults of others and insensitive to our own. We are born experts at seeing the shortcomings of our neighbor. But a spiritual long-sightedness renders us oblivious to the same shortcomings in ourselves." (Maurice Roberts)

Are you more aware of your neighbors sin or your own? If the answer is your neighbors I would challenge you go examine your own heart in the light of who Christ is. I have had plenty of opportunities to examine my own heart this past weekend to which I am grateful to the Lord for showing me my own sinful heart. The good news is forgiveness which is found in Christ's atoning work on the cross. O the grace of God to pardon a sinner like me.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

Friday, May 7, 2010

He has now Reconciled


“He has now reconciled” (Colossians 1:22)

Do we even need to ask how wonderful this phrase is to the ears of those who are reconciled? I sure hope not. Sinners had no way of being reconciled in the sight of a holy, perfect, righteous God but this text says, “He has now reconciled” us and that he is the God-man Jesus Christ. He is the only mediator between God and men. “He has now reconciled” is the good news of the gospel.

What sweet music to our ears as we read of the reconciliation found in Jesus Christ. Reconciliation found in the perfect Son of God who has died the death we deserved to die and lived the life we could not live. Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” and “in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Col. 1:15, 19). Jesus Christ is the God-man. Only someone fully divine and fully human could be the mediator between God and men. Mediation was brought through the cross of Christ. Reconciliation was brought through the cross of Christ. He is the One through whom we are reconciled “making peace by the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:20). Through the cross sinners are brought to peace with God the Father. This is amazing news.

“He has now reconciled” means it is instant. This is not a gradual justification found in Christ but for those who place their faith in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross they are “Now” reconciled. “You, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death.” This is the clear teaching of Christ being our substitute upon the cross. The sinless One dies the sinners’ death in order to present sinners sinless. The purpose is “to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.” This is a humbling truth! We, as sinners, are imputed with the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ so that we can be presented blameless and holy before our Father God. Only Jesus Christ could accomplish this reconciliation.

What does this theology mean practically?

For those who have not put their trust in Jesus Christ this news will mean nothing. You will still love sin more than submitting to a holy God. But the good news is that you have just heard the gospel again and that is such a grace from God to your life. He may be chiseling your stony heart right now. The gospel is the power of God until salvation therefore his power is the power to give a new heart. He says that those who humble themselves and repent of their sins trusting in him alone he will not cast out. God wants a broken spirit and a contrite heart from you. If you come with pride in your heart than you will not want to submit to God’s authority.

For those who know Christ what a great joy to be reminded that through Jesus Christ “he has now reconciled” us to himself. Be in awe of the cross. Stand in amazement that Jesus would come to this earth to die in our place as our substitute. Nothing is more humbling than being reminded of this reality. The gospel just grows sweeter in time as we realize the serious price that was paid for us. What a loving Father we have. All praise, honor and glory be unto him who has brought reconciliation to sinners like us.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Between Two Worlds

Trip Lee has become one of my favorite artist in music. I love his style of hip-hop and I love the fact that he exalts Jesus Christ through his message. Here is a promo for his new album Between Two Worlds that will be released on June 22 by Reach Records:



Grace upon grace,
JRL

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Guard your Speech

In Maurice Roberts book The Thought of God he has a chapter title Redeeming the Tongue. I was convicted by the titled so that should tell you the fear in my heart has I dove into the chapter. The emphasis in the chapter was the fact that Christians have much to talk about in knowing the Creator yet waste much of that time on idle talk.

"One reason why, as modern Christians, we talk so much about so little is that we are bombarded by trivial speech on every side. The entertainment world, which now has a mouth-piece somewhere in most houses, has a great deal to answer for. It has taught us all how to talk endlessly about nothing. So-called radio and television 'personalities' are often little better than mass educators in the art of trivial talk. That is the world's way and it is to be, in a sense, expected from them. But this bad example is picked up by Christians too. We learn to conform to ever easier and lower levels. Instead, we should raise the tone of our daily conversation to something more consistent with our calling as the sons of God."

Guilty. Maurice is not suggesting Christians be entertained but rather to guard our speech from becoming like the world and talking about nothing but the world's entertainment. We have something way more exciting to talk about than entertainment. We can offer life, true life, in Jesus Christ the One sent to save sinners. May we be careful to redeem our tongues.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Give me Sight, O Savior

Give me a sight, O Savior,
Of Thy wondrous love to me,
Of the love that brought Thee down to earth,
To die on Calvary.

Oh, make me understand it,
Help me to take it in,
What it meant to Thee, the Holy One,
To bear away my sin.

Was it the nails, O Savior,
That bound Thee to the tree?
Nay, 'twas Thine everlasting love,
Thy love for me, for me.

Oh, wonder of all wonders,
That through Thy death for me,
My open sins, my secret sins,
Can all forgiven be.

Then melt my heart, O Savior,
Bend me, yea, break me down,
Until I own Thee Conqueror,
And Lord and Sov'reign crown. (K.A.M. Kelly)

Grace upon grace,
JRL

Monday, May 3, 2010

Awe and Wonder at the Cross

I was recently reminded of the scene in Pilgrim's Progress when Christian has his burden taken away because of the cross. What a great picture John Bunyan paints of the great gift of salvation.

"Now I saw in my dream that the highway up which Christian was to travel was fenced on either side with a wall, and that wall was called Salvation. Up this way, therefore, did Christian run, but not without great difficulty because of the load on his back.

He ran until he came to a hill, and upon that hill stood a cross, and at the bottom was a [tomb]. So I saw in my dream that just as Christian came up to the cross, his burden was loosened from his shoulders and fell from his back and began to tumble, and continued to do so until it came to the mouth of the [tomb], where it fell in, and I saw it not more.

Then Christian was glad and lighthearted and said with a merry heart, 'He has given me rest through his sorrow, and life through his death.' He stood still a while to look and wonder, for it surprised him that the sight of the cross should thus ease him of his burden. He looked and looked, until the tears streamed down his cheeks."

O what amazing grace is found at the cross of Christ!

Grace upon grace,
JRL